Directed by Sandeep Sawant
Running Time: 1:45
Maybe I'm just jaded and have seen too many movies in my life, but Shwaas did absolutely nothing for me. A story that should have been sweet and touching, instead drove me insane with characters more annoying than anything else.
Paarsha is a young boy from a village who has eye problems. His grandfather brings him to the big city to meet with an eye specialist. After and extremely long process, we find that Paarsha has a type of ocular cancer. In order for him to live, both of his eyes will need to be removed. His grandfather agonizes about what to do, but in the end decides that having the boy alive and blind is more important than having letting him die.
Shwaas could have easily been a tearjerker kind of movie. A lot of films take life and death situations and turn them into Lifetime movies of the week. They're not great, but they still make you emotional and you start to feel sympathy for the sick child/mother/grandfather/dog or whatever they choose. The only emotion I felt for the people of Shwaas was anger and annoyance. I don't know anything about the actors; a quick trip to IMDB.com shows the grandfather and boy haven't acted before, although being in Indian films means IMDB might not have picked up on them. But the boy was arguably one of the most irritating characters I've ever seen. Yes, I can fully appreciate the character was a small child who didn't understand why his eyesight was failing, and he was being subjected to tests and other things that didn't make sense. But every time he opened his mouth I disliked him. And when he'd start to scream and yell... let's just say I'm glad he's not my kid. The grandfather wasn't much better. None of the actors did anything for me. None of them had any emotion towards anything. The only one that looked like he had feelings was the uncle, and most of the time he just looked confused.
The movie was unbearably long, even though for an Indian film it could be considered short. There were no song and dance sequences, so the 105 minute running time is reasonable, but considering what actually happened in the movie, it could have taken about 10 minutes. I think the film's creators wanted to show how patients get the short end of the stick when it comes to doctors. How they can ask questions but they only get answered when the doctor has a few moments between other patients. Half the movie was spent waiting to find out what was wrong with the kid. The other half was spent waiting for him to get surgery. The scenes were so long and drawn out that I kept drifting into other thoughts. Like, what would you rather lose: eyesight, hearing or the ability to speak? I chose the ability to speak. No one needs to hear me talk. But I'd hate the idea that I couldn't watch a movie again.
I kept feeling like I was being manipulated into feeling something for these people. Sorrow for the kid for having to go blind. Sadness and understanding for the grandfather who had to make the choice. Amusement at the uncle who just seemed lost most of the time. At no point did I feel any real emotion for the characters. I kept getting frustrated at them. When the grandfather didn't want to sign the paperwork to get the tests done. When the kid wouldn't relax for a second and then suddenly bite people. When the grandfather took the kid from the hospital so he could see the sights one last time. I didn't have a problem with that, but he nearly caused the uncle to have a heart attack and made everyone else go insane for no reason. Did he really think that if he just told people he wanted the kid to go out one last time, anyone would have stopped him? Again, I live in a different world so things might make more sense to me, but still, common sense sometimes might prevail.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, I'm wondering how Shwaas was the Indian representative for the Academy Awards this year. From a country that makes hundreds of films a year, there had to be something better than this. I was very disappointed.
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